After a Major Outpouring from People with Disabilities, Toronto City Council Unanimously Votes to Leave in Place the Ban on Electric Scooters

ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE

NEWS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

After a Major Outpouring from People with Disabilities, Toronto City Council Unanimously Votes to Leave in Place the Ban on Electric Scooters

May 5, 2021 Toronto: As a major victory for people with disabilities, Toronto’s City Council Today unanimously voted not to allow e-scooters in public and not to conduct a pilot project. Terrified of the danger to them that e-scooters pose, people with disabilities have been working hard to oppose the efforts of corporate lobbyists on this issue.

City staff, Toronto’s Accessibility Advisory Committee and the Toronto Infrastructure and Environment Committee made strong recommendations to City Council against allowing e-scooters in Toronto, and against conducting a pilot project. In the same direction, an impressive spectrum of disability advocates told the Infrastructure and Environment Committee on April 28, 2021 that Toronto City Council must not unleash dangerous electric scooters in Toronto (now banned, unless Council legalizes them).

A City Staff Report, which the Toronto City Council unanimously supported, amply shows e-scooters endanger public safety in places allowing them. Riders and innocent pedestrians get seriously injured or killed. They especially endanger seniors and people with disabilities. Blind people can’t tell when silent e-scooters rocket at them at over 20 KPH, driven by unlicensed, untrained, uninsured, unhelmetted fun-seeking riders. Left strewn on sidewalks, e-scooters are tripping hazards for blind people and accessibility nightmares for wheelchair users.

The Infrastructure Committee was told last week that Toronto has been getting less accessible to people with disabilities. Allowing e-scooters would make that worse.

Last week, the Infrastructure and Environment Committee was also told over and over that it accomplishes nothing to just ban e-scooters from sidewalks. The City Staff Report documents the silent menace of e-scooters continue to be ridden on sidewalks in cities that just ban them from sidewalks. We would need cops on every block. Toronto law enforcement told City Councilors last July 9 that they have no resources to enforce such new e-scooter rules.

E-scooters would impose significant costs on taxpayers for new law enforcement, OHIP for treating those injured by e-scooters, lawsuits by the injured, etc. Toronto has more pressing budget priorities.

The AODA Alliance has exposed the stunning well-funded behind-the-scenes feeding frenzy of back-room pressure that corporate lobbyists for e-scooter rental companies have inundated City Hall with for months.

“We applaud the Toronto City Council for its unanimous vote and we congratulate all the disability organizations and individual disability advocates who devoted their volunteer efforts to help protect our safety and accessibility,” said AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky. “The small number of Ontario cities that started an e-scooter pilot project should now suspend those pilot projects, and learn from the wise Toronto decision, in the interest of protecting their vulnerable seniors, people with disabilities, and others that e-scooters endanger. We need Ontario cities to become more accessible to people with disabilities, and not allow any new disability barriers to be created.”

Contact: AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky, aodafeedback@gmail.com

Twitter: @aodaalliance

For more background, check out the AODA Alliance’s March 30, 2021 brief to the City of Toronto on e-scooters, the AODA Alliance video on why e-scooters are so dangerous (which media can use in any reports), and the AODA Alliance e-scooters web page.